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Thailand, Laos and Cambodia – the Emerald Triangle

The Emerald Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Cambodia meet

Not quite sure why the ‘powers that be’, (guess that’d be TAT – Tourism Authority of Thailand?), decided to call this region – the area where the 3 countries of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand meet – the Emerald Triangle but they have done. Yes, it very green, but then so is most of Southeast Asia!

The Emerald Triangle. Mekong Valley and Lao/Thai border at Pha Taem
Mekong Valley and Lao/Thai border at Pha Taem

Anyway, it’s got a ring to it so we decided to call our new tour –  which features the southeast reaches of Northern Thailand, the southern region of Laos and the northeast section of Cambodia – the Emerald Triangle. Wi recently led the Atkinson Family from Plymouth, (if she understood correctly; Wi’s knowledge of Lao geography being, fortunately, better than that of England), on the said itinerary so here are a few of the resulting photos. First up a selection of unusual snacks – beer nibbles we reckon – on offer in a roadside cafe in Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Some tempting nibbles!
Some tempting nibbles!

Next to the freshwater shrimp is what looks like red ants sauteed with lemongrass, silkworms, freshwater clams and some kind of unidentified beetle.

Hiking to Phu Asa
Hiking to Phu Asa

On to Laos for a very atmospheric shot from Wi taken during a hike to the suitably mysterious ruins of Phu Asa near Kietngong in Champassak Province. We say mysterious since, despite several theories: a ruined 19th century Wat, fortress of a local revolting tribe or Khmer ruin, no one actually knows at all by whom or when these odd ruins were built. They don’t look anything like any Khmer ruins we’ve ever seen and bear zero resemblance to any Buddhist Wat so they certainly are enigmatic. There are 108 stone columns laid out around a flattish natural rock area. 108 is a highly significant number in Hindu/Buddhist mythology and a figure that crops up over and over again in their respective architectural designs. (e.g. 108 towers of Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, the 108 offering jars at Wat Phu, Bangkok or the 54 heads guarding the gateways at Angkor Tom.) (Why 108, is a longish and complicated story so now’s not the time!)

View from the top of Phu Asa
View from the top of Phu Asa

Anyway, the view alone is worth the climb – see above!

Wetlands in Sepian National Biodiversity Area
Wetlands in Sepian National Biodiversity Area

Next up are a couple of shots of Don Khone – the island amongst the 4,000 Islands which the group stayed on – and here’s a pic of the riverside chalets at the pleasant Seng Ahloune Guesthouse followed by a great sunset taken from the same guesthouse restaurant.

Accommodation on Don Khone
Accommodation on Don Khone

 

The Emerald Triangle. Sunset over the Mekong
Sunset over the Mekong

We’ll round up this brief photo post with a shot of our intrepid travellers kayaking on the mighty Mekong. Presumably in search of the Irrawaddy dolphins that inhabit the deep calm waters immediately below the great Khone Phapeang Falls.

Kayaking to Cambodia
Kayaking to Cambodia

That’s all folks and thanks to Wi for the photos.